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July 2, 2009
By Maxine Mitchell, Account Coordinator
This July the NAACP celebrates 100 years of being champions of social justice. I’m proud of what the organization stands for and for the ground-breaking work that has led to successes in civil rights and racial equality.
Two nights ago as I munched chocolate chip cookies and sipped warm milk (my guilty pleasure bedtime ritual) I came across the movie, the Mississippi Burning, a 1988 film (starring a vibrant and younger Gene Hackman) loosely based on the 1964 murders of three civil rights activists in Neshoba County, Mississippi. I watched as a young black boy untied the murderous noose from the neck of his lifeless and severely beaten father. As the child actor cried on screen, I reflected on how many tears were shed and lives lost in reality. I was shaken, and as usual I grew angry to be reminded of that shameful truth that stained America’s history.
‘Wow!’ I thought. ‘We sure have come a long way.’
But while we may not be seeing the burning crosses on lawns, it would be naïve to think that social injustice is a phenomenon of the past. Even today, minorities, low income workers, the homeless, the previously incarcerated and many more, are still facing varying degrees of discrimination. It’s refreshing to know that there are still strong voices that speak on behalf of these groups and take action for change. Pro-Media’s clients are some of those voices, and each day we work to get their messages on justice, equality and progressive issues heard. We are advocates and even with your busy schedules, you can be one too.
I’m not expecting that we’re all going to become masterminds of activism and lead the next nationwide revolution for social justice, but we can make small steps, and personal decisions to towards social change.
I for one, have signed the NAACP petition on behalf of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, and by giving three seconds of my time to that cause have become an online activist.
Mr. Davis is an African American man on death row for the past 18 years for a murder which evidence now shows he did not commit. The NAACP notes, “There is no physical evidence tying him to the crime and seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. New evidence and new testimony has been presented to the Georgia courts, but the justice system refuses to consider this evidence, which would prove Troy Davis’ innocence once and for all.”
I encourage everyone who can’t take giant steps towards being an advocate to take the baby steps instead. It doesn’t have to be the fight to end racial hatred or the struggle for workers rights, you only need to find an issue you feel passionate about and do something (no matter how small) to support that cause. If you’re a New Yorker and need help in finding an opportunity to get active, do what one of my progressive proactive colleagues did, visit the NY Cares Web site for volunteer opportunities. For those out-of-state take a quick look at the Volunteers of America website. While you’re out there tackling each day and its challenges, don’t forget to
Live, laugh, love!